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The run-off for the French presidential election will take place on April 24 (2022). France’s new President is Emmanuel Macron. P.U.T.I.N.: Power Under Tyranny Is Nefarious.

It almost comes close to a déjà-vu: As early as 2017, there already was a runoff between the liberal Macron and the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen. But, as in 2017, Le Pen will lose the runoff also this time, and France’s democracy is to master this test bravely.

Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The right-wing populist formula for mobilizing voters

The runoff election of May 7, 2017, between Macron and Le Pen, has since been well analyzed and documented in terms of voting demographics. The following tended to opt for Macron: women, older people, people with a higher level of education and people with a higher income. By tendency the following voted more for Le Pen: men, people aged 35-49, people with less education and a lower income, and people who identify themselves as belonging to the working class. It is thus the internationally known recipe for assembling a voter alliance for right-wing populism aimed at making gains in the working class, when originally the working class would or should have voted left. At the same time, however, it is the middle class that is increasingly developing into an insurmountable barrier against right-wing populism. Middle classes do not necessarily vote left, but middle classes do vote anti-right-wing populist. The geography of voters in the French presidential runoff of 2017 is also interesting. Above all, north-eastern France (often regions with an economic downturn) and southern France on the Mediterranean coast voted for Le Pen. On the other hand, Macron was much more popular in the west and east of France. Finally, Macron won that 2017 runoff impressively with a total of 66.1% of the votes.

The first round of voting on April 10, 2022

In the first round of this year’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron received 27.85% and Marine Le Pen 23.15% of the vote. As a result, what was predicted many times, again came about, namely that there would be a repeat of the runoff election of 2017: Macron against Le Pen. The (first round) election geography in 2022 also is very similar to that of 2017: the North and South are tending towards Le Pen, whereas the West and East to Macron.

However, the launch of the election campaign for France’s right-wing populists had started with several troubles. The right-wing populist camp was split between Le Pen and the far-right Éric Zemmour, who is considered even more right-wing than Le Pen. Then France’s right was also challenged by Putin’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, which was unleashed on February 24 of this year. Europe’s right-wing populists often maintained good contacts with the autocrat Putin. In an election campaign brochure, Le Pen had herself pictured with Putin. This (“picture of shame”), of course, caused embarrassment, and Le Pen felt compelled to distance herself from Putin.

While Macron devoted most of his time to international diplomacy in the weeks following the start of the invasion, Le Pen made a certain shift in strategy by addressing the current economic problems facing the working and middle classes, who are increasingly suffering from high inflation and the associated consequences. Le Pen could also score here to a certain extent. In this context, it is interesting to note that the supporters of the so-called “yellow vests” (gilets jaunes) partially chose Le Pen.

Nevertheless, this first round of elections just missed out on a surprise, because the left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon accomplished a remarkable 21.95% of the votes, and only very narrowly did not make it into the run-off election. Europe’s New Left is hoping for a certain boost from this. In contrast, France’s Socialists and Conservatives (Gaullists) did disastrously poorly in the first round of voting.

Prediction for April 24, 2022

Despite this déjà-vu of repeating the election match between Macron and Le Pen, many analysts assume that the outcome will be closer this time. An election victory for Le Pen would come as a shock for Europe and the EU more particularly. However, Macron can claim most of the election recommendations for himself. The prediction here is: Regardless of some expectations of a closer election result, the “Cordon Sanitaire” will hold up also this time, and the quality of democracy in France will prevail.

This means that April 24 is also something like a public referendum for or even more so against Le Pen. An election victory of Le Pen can be ruled out factually. This means that the new president will once again be called Emanuel Macron, which the newest polls also clearly indicate.

Finally, it should be noted.

P.U.T.I.N.: Power Under Tyranny Is Nefarious.

About the Author:
David F.J. Campbell
Founder & Director
David is an Associate Professor for Comparative Political Science at the University of Vienna. His thematic core focuses are quality of democracy in a global perspective, knowledge and innovation in a knowledge economy and knowledge democracy, where David co-created (together with Elias G. Caraynnis) the concept and theory of the Quadruple and Quintuple Helix Innovation Systems. Additional themes of his are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the sciences and arts.